Australia is changing its immigration rules to try and attract more doctors and engineers.

Immigration minister Chris Evans says the country has too many hairdressers and cooks and not enough doctors and engineers.

"We were taking hairdressers from overseas in front of doctors and nurses - it didn't make any sense," Evans said.

The new rules mean that intending immigrants will be given higher points if they score highly in English and if they have a job offer.

The government says it will also start capping the numbers of immigrants in certain job categories but has not so far identified those jobs.

It is not known what effect the new rules will have on the thousands of Irish who are decamping in their droves for Australia.